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Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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Booked 5 times today

Dobson's Bar & Restaurant

4.4
795 reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Top Tags:
  • Pre/post Theatre
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Cozy
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter. For the last 34 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities. Paul Dobson, the namesake for Dobson's bar and restaurant, is one of America's few professional Bullfighters. The food is California cuisine with a touch of Italian, French, Spanish and Asian cuisine. One thing that both local San Diegans and Zagat can agree on is that this is one of the top restaurants in San Diego. Due to the limited seating and popularity, reservations are highly recommended. Owner Paul Dobson "works a room better than Sinatra", which explains why this "local tradition" downtown remains, "after all these years", a "high-powered, hobnob spot"; the Cal kitchen "serves up delicious, innovative food, along with old standbys" ("have the mussel bisque and think of heaven").
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Californian, French
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 12:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday 4;00-7;00pm
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Phone number
(619) 231-6771
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Martin San Roman
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Broadway
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Special events & promotions
Available for buyouts, partial buyouts, private events, or intimate gatherings. For special events please contact Medina 619-231-6771
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wine

Private Dining

Dobson's proudly introduces our new Private Dining Planning Department! Your ideas and our expertise will create just the right menu. You can even rent the whole restaurant for your private event!!! For more information please contact us directly.

View Private Dining Details
What 795 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Great food, great service, great time. We really enjoyed out time there before we saw a play at the Civic Theater.

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4.0Dined on June 10, 2018

Tables too close together. Impossible to have a private conversation.

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3.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Way too noisy. Couldn't hear what the person at the table across from me we saying.

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2.0Dined on June 9, 2018

This place looks incredibly tired. Time to put some money into it. Service, not bad, not good.
Both of us had their filet and the meat was like a warm rubber sponge. Both in taste and texture.
Used to be a great restaurant.

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5.0Dined on June 3, 2018

Haven't been to Dobson's in years but it still a classic place and muscle bisque is still Superb!! Service is great and food is delicious! Love the bar area!

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5.0Dined on June 2, 2018

We like the ambiance. Frequented by regulars and new people - a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It's clear they value their customers; high quality food with variety - fresh, tasty and healthy; friendly, prompt service from all; and easy to converse and hear each other.

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

Dobson´s is one of my favorite restaurants, I have been going there with friends for literally decades.

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

My son and I visited Dobson's for a quick dinner before seeing a show at the Civic Theater, and we were pleased that our server was able to accommodate our tight schedule (about one hour). We were seated upstairs, although the bar dining area would have been ideal, as it was more lively and offered more casual fare. We ordered escargot and quail, both of which were very good, and we also enjoyed the large wedges of hot sourdough bread that were placed on our plates. The upstairs dining area was a bit stuffy for my taste. If I come back, I think I'd really enjoy getting a good cocktail at the bar area! Overall, it was a great experience.

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

Couldn't believe that this restaurant actually charges for bread! I have never heard of that before! With the prices they charge, I don't see why they would feel they needed to charge for the bread. It was very good bread, though!

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4.0Dined on May 19, 2018

The food was excellent. One of the best meals I've had dinning in downtown San Diego. Space is small and cramped, but service was very good..

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Dobsons has been established for many years. The restaurant is charming with a lively bar. A reservation is a must especially Friday and Saturday. Dobsons is very convenient for a pre theatre dinner and cocktails.

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3.0Dined on May 6, 2018

We had reservations Saturday Night before a concert at Balboa Theater around 530pm. I was surprised to find the restaurant so empty, usually is very crowded. Anyway, we ordered 2 glasses of wine and water, one of the water glasses had lipstick all over and the person seating near us also return a glass with lipstick. I order a Cesar salad (needed more flavor) and their famous bisque (pastry on top was burned), my husband order bisque and salmon special with mash potatoes, very small portion of fish and hardly any mash potatoes, now they charge 1.50 per person for bread. Total tab was a little over 100 including tip.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Classic, good food and service, nice atmosphere. Worthwhile.

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1.0Dined on May 3, 2018

Charge for bread??? At the entree prices that should not happen. Dining area up a flight of stairs need to be better known; one party member had trouble climbing and as a patron wanted an area for conversation. One bar patron obviously had too much and could only speak in vulgarities very loudly. Should have been asked to quiet down or go. Food good but not too imaginative or forward thinking.

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5.0Dined on May 2, 2018

Haven’t been here in a few years and I have to say I really loved it. From the warmed bread, to the well prepared dishes. Will come back

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3.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Been coming here for about 30 years. Soup is not the same and I took one bite of my crab cake and it was no eatable. Sorry, I wanted to like Dobson's especially with the new ownership. But it is not the same. We use to dress up now everyone is in jeans. But really, crab cake needs help and muscles need to be fresher.

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

We had lunch at Dobson's on my father's 90th birthday. The staff was very accommodating since we had one individual in a wheelchair. The upstairs is not wheelchair accessible, but they moved tables together for us near the bar. The meal was great and they have a good assortment of beers.

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5.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Perfection!

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Classic downtown spot for 30 years - PAul always does a great job and Michael was slingin' it behind the bar!

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4.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Great food, bit quiet for a Friday night

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Nice quiet dining and attentive service along with great menu choices.

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5.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Dobson's mussel bisque is world famous. Downtown location is perfect for nearby theatres.

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5.0Dined on March 30, 2018

Love this place. Usually go before seeing a play downtown. Reminds me of NYC.

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5.0Dined on March 29, 2018

Great for downtown theater. Three in 5 minute walking distance. Food consistently good as is service. A French/ American mix. Most tables one flight up so if a problem specify downstairs and active bar(can be tight if having dinner) and drinks have good pour.

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5.0Dined on March 14, 2018

Mussel Bisque - must have!!! Everything was terrific as usual!!!!

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5.0Dined on March 13, 2018

THE FOOD, AS ALWAYS, WAS OUTSTANDING!
WHILE WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT OUR FAVORITE CHICKEN-LIVER MOUSSE WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT LUNCHTIME; WE OPTED FOR THE SPECIAL OF THE DAY: VEAL OSSO BUCCO.
IT, AND OUR WINE WAS DELICIOUS AND REASONABLY-PRICED. WE ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO DINE HERE

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3.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Overrated. They sat us in a very small room(closet) by the fire escape. The room needed some TLC. Food was ok. Muscle soup was only ok. Very disappointed. We were vacationing in San Diego and walked by it and decided to make reservations. We were going to go to Littke Italy to eat but iwas raining so we opted to go closer to where we were staying . We should have gone to little Italy.

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5.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Great food but the restaurant is small and they squeeze you in. The food and service make up for it.

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2018

Tried and true, as always, very good. Walk to Copley Symphony Hall and Civic Theater.

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5.0Dined on February 28, 2018

As always, Dobson's provides good value and great food. Swordfish I had was wonderful!

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4.0Dined on February 28, 2018

We had a fine pre-Opera dinner at Dobson’s, complete with their famous Mussels Bisque, which is the absolute best soup/bisque that can be imagined. A unique preparation which is not duplicated anywhere else. My wife had 2 excellent appetizers and I enjoyed my scallops entree. Service this time was slow, unusual for Dobson’s.

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1.0Dined on February 22, 2018

Hi we planned this for a special night on our vacation

The restaurant is nothing special little ambiance which was destroyed by staff trekking through the guest dining area with carts of not sure what

The hostess was very nice the waitress did not listen basically she was an order taker

We cut our loses and left after the appetizer

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5.0Dined on February 16, 2018

We were there for my son's birthday and it was wonderful. The food was great, and our waitress was awesome, thank you!

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5.0Dined on February 15, 2018

The mussel bisque is so delicious. This is why I go here.

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4.0Dined on February 13, 2018

We discovered Dobson's Bar and Restaurant years ago, right downtown San Diego. Catering noon to business people and evenings to the Theatre just nearby. Food, especially the Mussel Bisque that I go for is wonderful! Service very very slow although Servers do their best. Allow plenty of time would be my suggestion and worth the time. We drive an hour, so you can see we do enjoy Dobson's.

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3.0Dined on February 10, 2018

Liked the mussel soap and salads. This location is excellent for downtown where there is a shortage of upscale restaurants but it is tired. It just is not a very big or wide. The bar is a great place to drink and eat. Newer in places seem to be more attracted to other locations.

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5.0Dined on February 8, 2018

Cute restaurant near Balboa Theatre. Meal was excellent and can’t wait to go back to try the scallops.

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5.0Dined on February 7, 2018

I’m a repeat customer! Love their food and spirits! The mussel soup is a must!

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5.0Dined on February 5, 2018

Shannon was a perfect host at the bar. She made a wonderful get together with a very dear friend perfect. Dobson’s is my go to restaurant when I am in San Diego.

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3.0Dined on February 3, 2018

Waited 40 minutes for order

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